2014 Suzuki GSX-R600 Review

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2014 Suzuki GSX-R600

What’s Good
Surprisingly strong, useful mid-range makes the engine feel larger than it is.

Light and agile, this is as sport-focussed as a motorcycle can get.

But it doesn’t sacrifice day-to-day utility in favor of laser-like sport focus. If you can only afford one bike and want a sportbike, this would be a solid option. It’s as at home splitting tight city traffic as it is dragging knee on The Snake.

Despite rubber lines and a non-radial master cylinder, the brakes don’t fade and deliver strong stopping power.

The headlight, despite the de-spec from projector to reflector, is very bright, providing excellent nighttime illumination and waking up dozy automotive drivers.

The tall windscreen provides excellent wind protection. There’s a lesser need to fit a taller item than on other 600s, but you will still probably need to.

The entire package is cohesive and flatters your riding. Whether you’re an expert looking for the sharpest tool in the box or a newer rider looking to upgrade from a 650 twin or similar to your first full-on sportbike, the GSX-R600 is a solid option.

2014 Suzuki GSX-R600
2014 Suzuki GSX-R600

What’s Bad
Unlike the Triumph or the Kawasaki, the GSX-R lacks a defining USP. It’s not a triple, it doesn’t wear Ohlins or genuine Brembo brakes or come equipped with TC and ABS. It’s just an inline-four. One which, on paper, is just too similar to its rivals to stand out.

“Brembo” brake calipers add bling, but don’t be confused, they’re not as good as the Monoblocs on the Triumph.

The Gixxer image is just plain bad. Friends will ask, “Really?” Cops will point their radar guns at you. It’s as if you gain a helmet mohawk every time you climb on it.

The standard-fit Bridgestone BT-016s are not good. They don’t work in the wet or in temperatures below about 60 degrees. At all. In dry, warm conditions they’re sportbike tires, but not even particularly good ones. We’d love to see Suzuki fit high quality Dunlop or Pirellis as standard. This is an awesome sportbike, massively held back by cheap tires.

2014 Suzuki GSX-R600
2014 Suzuki GSX-R600

The Price
The GSX-R600 costs $11,699 in 2014. A competitive price, but no one’s paying cash for a Suzuki. You buy one because they have the best 0% APR deal in the business. If you have a job, putting one of these in your garage is as easy as it gets.

2014 Suzuki GSX-R600
2014 Suzuki GSX-R600

The Verdict
As good as a sportbike gets, with low running costs, generous financing and silly levels of performance. That’s the winning formula that has historically made these things so popular. But, that popularity is also the GSX-Rs biggest problem. Riding one simply does not bring the same cache as does riding a Triumph or any similar bike which comes in solid colors and without legions of squids tarnishing its image.

RideApart Rating: 8/10

Gear
Helmet: AGV Grid ($360, Highly Recommended)
Leathers: Dainese Laguna Seca Pro ($1,000, Highly Recommended)
Boots: Dainese Axial Pro In ($500, Highly Recommended)
Gloves: Dainese Full Metal Pro Valentino Rossi Replica ($400, Recommended)

  • http://statesofmotion.blogspot.com/ FastPatrick

    Have you dropped the out-of-10 rating system?

    Also, nice as this piece is, I can’t see having one without having a secure garage. Thief bait bordering on entrapment.

    • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

      Drop it in your garage a few times. That’ll teach those theives.

    • Jeremy Simmons

      After having just had my 2012 GSXR stolen while parked among a new Duc and Aprilla, I completely agree!

  • http://www.mises.org/ Core

    I’m not going to complain about the price, but I am curious about it…

    Have you guys ever done a price break down on import sports bikes?

    The reason I mention this, is if like you guys say, that the bike hasn’t changed in years, then that means,
    no new investment on the manufacturing end. No high cost on R&D or anything. BUT it seems like
    the price has gone up substantially.. I know part of this might be commodity prices going up at least in regards to
    the US dollar. It seems like the cost should go down a bit over these years is what I am getting at, not go up.. its doing the reverse
    of what’s logically supposed to happen.

    Maybe I’m just over thinking?

    • cocoaclassic

      There are other cost factors. Perhaps the manufacturing facilities raise their prices to produce the goods. Cost of materials needed to produce the goods. Also, import/export taxes have a big impact on prices (final product and pieces or materials). Shipping rates continue to rise which will eventually be passed down to the consumer.
      I know this doesn’t give a definite answer, but I work for a company that produces motorcycle accessories and these are some of the commonly overlooked (by the consumer) costs that influence the final price.

    • Bruce Steever

      Have you seen the dollar to yen ratios over the last few years…it’s horrifying

      • Doug Erickson

        yup, the exchange rate is killer. honda and yamaha mask it a bit with mandatory freight and other surcharges, but suzuki just jacks the price.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      You’re riding something that’s faster than a Ferrari, for less than $12k. The costs are spread over large numbers and over the marketing benefit of winning races. These things are retarded cheap, any way you cut it.

      • Piglet2010

        Also, the manufacturing costs of a 600 are the same as a liter-bike, while the materials and shipping are only slightly less.

      • http://www.mises.org/ Core

        Yeah, it might be faster than a Ferrari, but it also loses a lot of mass. And that’s one of the things I am getting at.
        Not a lot of materials there. And again, going back to the no new investments in technologies or what not for years..
        Shouldn’t the price come down? (Even if it is already “Cheap” as you say)

    • JohnnyWaffles

      You’re missing how marketing works. There are a number of people who purchase at a certain price point….wait. Don’t we all? What I mean is there are those in the general public who will buy something more expensive than a comparative model because they feel the increased price means it must be ‘better’. Think name brand Cheerios vs. Tasty-O’s. Similar concept. Decreasing the price would not be smart for Suzuki in this respect. It cheapens the brand literally and figuratively.

  • Loren Andrews

    I have to agree solidly on the last sentence. I just started riding in August and when I first wanted a bike all i dreamed about was getting an 09 Gixxer. But after time spent on the road, a majority of squids i see ride gixxers. And all my friends that have ones have crashed from doing stupid stuff or lack of skill(first bikes). And I know you should ride what you love regardless of what others do but I cant stand to be associated with the morons that ride around me on gixxers. Not to be naive and say all people that ride gixxers are squids but a good chunk on the street are. And I feel like I would enjoy a 675r way more along with the added respect of being at a skill level necessary to operate one the way its made. Because I know that riding a 250 for 4 months does not even make me close to the skill level needed to bring out 50% of its power, thats why I havent bought a 600 yet. And the rarity of seeing on the street. Tell me how often do you see an 11-12 675r on the street? Ill tell you never. most people I talk to dont even know what a Triumph is or what it looks like.

    • Guy Simmonds

      I’d also add the number of squids you see on Repsol-paint scheme CBRs. Which is a shame, because I can’t get enough of bright orange bikes (it’s a fetish, I need help).

      • Doug Erickson

        me too. i’d murder a man for the burnt orange 2012 z1000, or this year’s ninja 650.

        • Guy Simmonds

          I’m not normally a Kawasaki man, but after looking up both those paint schemes, I think I need a cold shower and a lie-down. Wowee.

          • Jack Meoph

            The 2014 Ninjette 300 in white is gorgeous. When I saw that bike on the showroom floor a couple days ago, my brain started to crunch numbers. I had to dial that back quick. I have a 2012 2fiddy already and just bought a new bike, but d@mn that white paint was impressive.

            • Mykola

              I’m definitely a white bike fetishist(?). Repainting my old eighties-tastic green-and-purple EX250F in white made it a hundred times better. It’s the only bike I’ve really missed after selling.

      • Kemal Kautsar

        understandable. Van Gogh said “oranje is de kleur van gekte” which means “orange is the color of insanity”.

        i love orange too!

      • appliance5000

        You need a KTM

    • Piglet2010

      I traded down from a F4i to a pre-gen Ninjette as being more suitable for my talent level on the track. As for the street, I would rather ride my Deauville or Bonnie 99% of the time.

      Not wanting to buy a Gixxer because of the squid associations reminded me why I never considered a H-D XR1200R instead of a Bonnie.

    • chad west

      Thats so true. I have seen a 675 twice and each time they had full leathers

    • Darek M

      I was going to say that you see fewer Daytonas because they’re much more expensive. But this GSXR is $11,699?! Wow. And actually $100 more expensive than an ABS Daytona. Outside of *maybe* decreased reliability and parts availability, why would you pick the Suzuki?

    • SniperSmitty

      If you have ever sat on a Daytona you would know it is only comfortable to ride on a track. Extremely aggressive position. Get a CBR F4i. Trust me. Honda built is better built. Keep the dirty side down.

      • Csorin

        I owned a 2009 Daytona for exactly 6 months before selling it and buying a Street Triple. They are beautiful bikes with a beautiful engine, but good god the ergos are horrendous. I’ve never ridden a GSX-R, but if the comfort level is what all these reviews imply, I might have to take a look. They’ve got new 2012 750′s for 8k around here. Very tempting, even if it only is a short stint Sunday ride or track bike.

  • Bruce Steever

    Yay, a feature! I jest, of course, but it’s good to see OC.

    Is it fair to call out a brand for the typical owners’ behavior? Yes, many gixxer pilots are squids. But so are a lot of BMW S1000RR riders i see. And in my experience, the level of skill in the Ducati ownership circle is also woefully lacking. Thoughts?

    • NOCHnoch

      You meet the nicest people on a Honda :)

      • Guy Simmonds

        Besides, uh, the squids on the Repsol-painted bikes. But the rest of us are lovely, I swear.

      • SteveNextDoor

        Not if you cut me off

    • Doug Erickson

      agreed, but when you think “squid” the word “gixxer” is the immediate followup, and vice-versa. ;-)

  • ThinkingInImages

    I think you may have hit it with the “cache” issue, but it also goes a little further. As refined as it is mechanically, it’s a bit garish. You can have a long running model that is continually refined until it’s iconic – but don’t make a caricature out of it. Except for the (excessive) graphics and a few details, it’s a generic 600cc supersports. So many of them are. What Suzuki needs is another Katana.

  • Aaron L

    Damn you’ve been a busy journo in the past couple weeks, Wes!

    Any thoughts on doing your own RideApart version of a class shootout (600, 1000, 650 twin, etc)?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Shootouts are such a bitch. Putting all those bikes together in the same place, at the same time is a HUGE production. And what are the results? An article that’s less popular than “10 reasons to date a motorcyclist”… I like features. The ones where we actually get to have fun making them.

      • Vitor Santos

        I was going to propose the same thing… but ok no shootout, i get why you wouldnt/can’t do that (And plz dont go the “10 reasons to date a motorcyclist” route on this site, it was ok article for the laughs but not the reason i come were everyday) .
        Ok so you guys are all about helping new motorcyclists and helping us choose bikes and stuff. So i have an ideia, what about the best supersport bargain? Let me explain. Getting a new 600 bike from the dealerfloor seems like a waste of money this days. All the big brands are doing is recycling old bikes with “small” tweaks. You can get great deals on used 600 supersport bikes this days plus, with todays economy, buying new its not really an option for many people around the world (myself included unfortunately). The thing is, there are so many options, and so many versions of past 600 sportbikes that gets confusing for someone who just arrived to the motorcycle world this year. For example, the best cbr 600rr version to me seems to be the 2007-2008 model, since it recieved a major update this year comparing to the original 2004 model, the ones that came after seem to be only modest updates, am i wrong? But what about ninjas, r6s and gixxers, if would like to buy my first sportbike, what would be the best used, no regrets ready to trash model?

      • stever

        My favorite videos were the ones where two or three of you would go ride someplace, trading bikes along the way, and then talk about the bikes’ differences, right when you all got out of the saddles and were still stoked on the ride.

  • Jack Meoph

    The 600 supersports are tremendous bikes. I had a 2009 ZX-6R until I tore my shoulder up and had to sell it last year. Bar none, the best motorcycle that I have ever owned. Would do anything you asked of it, and I could ride it all day (once I got use to it). I could keep ahead of more experienced riders (track day junkies) on liter bikes through the twisties with a SS. They are just fantastic and I’m glad I got to own and ride a few before my body betrayed me. Too bad they get stolen more than story ideas in Hollywood.

  • Doug Erickson

    hate to be that guy, but it’s “cachet”.

    also, huge thumbs up on the gixxer squid callouts!

  • Doug Erickson

    since this is as good a place to put it as anything else: can we get a feature or features on “what’s in the editors’ garages?” i’m really curious to know what bikes wes, tim, sean, jen et al are willing to fork over their paychecks for and why. or did they do this already, and do i simply suck at the googles?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Perk of the job: free bikes.

      • Doug Erickson

        well, maybe a “what we WOULD buy if we were a filthy lumpenprole dirtperson and could only afford 1-2 bikes” feature, then? i’m just curious to know what you guys/gal would buy if you, i dunno, sold insurance instead of running this “free motorcycles for wes and sean” scam site and were forced to buy your rides. ;-)

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          CB500X if we could only afford one bike. RSV4 if we wanted something nice. XR650R if we wanted a dual sport or ADV bike.

  • taba

    I need to pick up a second helmet. Thought I’d get another AGV K4 Evo, but see you highly recommend the Grid ($300 at revzilla).

    Is the Grid much better?

    Or should I hold out for the GT Veloce?

    Thanks.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      We’d definitely go for the Grid or GT. Just try them on and see which fits better. IIRC, the GT Veloce is more sport touring than sport, so consider riding position and view when you try it on.

      • taba

        Thanks, Wes. I appreciate it.

        • taba

          Just ordered the Grid. Thanks again.

  • Malandro

    The squid/Gixxer axis is a US thing, thankfully. Like helmet mohawks, “600 supersports are learner bikes” and living where there are only straight roads for miles. The only reason I wouldn’t consider an IL4 600SS is because I’d never get the chance to make use of the rev range. They’re exceptionally popular round my way but I’d rather have a twin or a triple.

  • Pablo Perez

    All this talk about squids is silly and reminds me of a conversation between “cool kids.” Yes, there’s truth to it, but it’s an old and worn-out stereotype lingering from the 90s-00s. I say today’s squids aren’t on SS bikes wearing a backwards cap, shorts, a wife beater, and tennis shoes. No, they’re hipsters wearing their girlfriends jeans on Triumphs and “brands with more cache.” A good bike is a good bike, this is a fairly objective thing we’re talking about. All too often when we talk about cache or character we’re busy making excuses for a sub-par bike that happens to be what the cool kids are into. Personally, if you’d let a bike’s image scare you off, then you’re literally just as bad as the squids you’re trying to distance yourself from.

    • E Brown

      “Lingering from the 90-00s?” The Range Rover incident was just last year! A quick scan of YouTube will show the Gixxer-Squid association is alive, well, and current.

      Everyone can cast themselves as the rugged individualist who doesn’t care what anyone thinks, but that’s missing the issue: even people that don’t care what others think care what THEY think of themselves. Regardless of what the public thinks of them, I’d rather not throw my lot in with those guys. Since it’s my money, that’s all that matters, and people are free to tell me I’m missing out on a great bike – in my view, that’s true whenever you write a check for one unless you go all Jay Leno.

  • appliance5000

    On curves I’m not sure more than 50hp is needed.

    • Bruce Steever

      I vote closer to 100 hp than 50, but that’s just me.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    11700 is crackpipe territory . But then again I stopped riding sportbikes in the past 10 years. Standards and cruisers for me

  • Steven Mansour

    How about a “what your make/model says about you” feature? You can crowdsource folks’ opinions and have a new candidate for “most controversial article”… :)

  • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

    Clearly the only solution is to ride an Aprilia, Guzzi or KTM.

  • HardLookAtReality

    “he 600′s lever doesn’t come back to the handlebar because it doesn’t have to stop 586 lbs or 180 bhp.”

    LOL brakes never have to stop hp. They have to stop momentum. And momentum is merely mass times velocity.
    Doesn’t depend on displacement at all.

    Having ridden both the 600 and the literbike I think they are both good-handling bikes, the literbike is little slower-handling but still quite quick to steer…and just has more power up and down the powerband. The handling of the 600 is faster than I need but the bike has just enough power to suit my tastes. The literbike is a better overall bike…and only a couple-thou more expensive…and geared longer…and only 50lb heavier.

    To me it’s a nobrainer to take the literbike.
    And sorry I don’t see it as “simply too much power”. Wrong.
    At least get the 750.

  • HardLookAtReality

    …can’t say that I agree with this at all, the gsx-r 600 is not bad but the 1000 is simply a better bike.
    Almost the ideal sportbike, really.
    The handling of the 600 is a little too fast, it’s a little light on power, has to be revved a little too hard to make real power…

    All problems that are fixed in the literbike.
    But yeah, if I were just in the market for a 600 supersport, this is the one that I’d get.
    (I’d probably go for an FJ6R over this if I were just getting a 600)
    It’s a very-sweet 600 though it would be nice if it had ABS.
    But it has a nice solid midrange that the R6 and ZX-6R definitely don’t have, and the handling isn’t squirrely-fast like the R6.

  • Alessandro Gelormini

    “Despite rubber lines and a non-radial master cylinder”

    what??? non-radial?? in which world??

  • MaxAR15

    Well, I am going against the grain here. At 65 plus years old I will have different outlook. I could go out & purchase a 1199s (Ducati) & not blink an eye, but to what advantage? Snob appeal, to say I can blow a ton of money, because I have a great talent on the track (yes, used to race BOTT, but that was back in the 80′s), or belong to an exclusive club? My ego does not need that.
    The price is right, add some good tires, a few non observable handling type modifications just for the fun of it and ride. I am not out to prove much anymore but just out to enjoy the ride for ever how long I have.

  • Tom Byrne

    So according to you, who is “real” rider? I own a 750 Katana, a 71 T250 setup as a brat/trials bike, a 75 GT380 and a 79 400 Hawk, both setup as a cross between a cafe and a 70s Superbike. I have what I have because that is what I like. I am not living out delusions. I do not care who likes what I am riding. I don’t like bikes which look as though they were styled by an alien civilization and I don’t like appliance bikes, but would never rip or stereotype people who own them.
    I like riding bikes, but I much rather strip, rebuild and repaint them. I love taking old bikes and upgrading suspensions, brakes, etc. I like being creative. If no one else limes what I own, who cares.

    I have the means to buy nearly any new bike for cash. I just don’t see the need. However, that is just me.